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Report: Honda, other Japanese Automakers Look Towards Recovery Following Earthquake

AF News Desk
03-31-2011, 05:52 PM
According to a recent report on (, Honda is looking at a possible mid-April restart date for their Japanese factories following the devastating earthquake, tsunami and aftershocks the island nation suffered earlier this month.

Honda Motor Co., among the worst hit by Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami, said it will resume limited vehicle assembly on April 11, after having its plants offline for four-straight weeks, as some of the country's automakers inched toward recovery.

Honda, which had previously said its two domestic assembly plants would be down at least through April 4, says both the Sayama and Suzuka factories will be running April 11. Honda cautioned that restored vehicle assembly in Japan will continue at only half its normal rate.

The company will also resume production of parts and replacement parts on April 4 for shipment overseas. That move should help alleviate parts shortages in North America, where Honda has said it will cut output by as much as half amid stalled deliveries from Japan.

Mazda Motor Corp. also announced it would resume limited assembly at both of its Japanese passenger car plants on April -- with newly obtained parts.

Mazda is currently operating only one plant, its Hiroshima factory, and all production until now has been based on parts in stock. It did not say when full production would restart.

Nissan Motor Co. said it was targeting "normal" production by mid-April. Japan's No. 2 automaker also sees supply lines of new parts being at least partially restored by then, though the company is closing its five domestic assembly plants next week while suppliers regroup.

Separately, Suzuki said it would keep its small car factory and truck plant running through Saturday, for an additional two days. But its main Sagara large car plant, which makes the Kizashi sedan and SX4 for export to the United States, will remain offline indefinitely.

Mitsubishi also planned to have all three of its plants running Thursday and Friday.

Vague timelines

Carmakers are making modest progress in keeping plants open or forecasting a return to production with newly supplied parts as a vague timeline for returning to normalcy takes shape. Mid-April is now emerging as the time when steady, albeit limited, output may fire up.

Toyota Motor Corp. is among the companies expected to try reopening plants then.

A Toyota supplier said his company was informed by a Toyota purchasing executive that the bulk of the Toyota and Lexus assembly plants will remain suspended at least until April 14. That followed a Reuters report saying they would be down until April 11.

The only production under way this week is for the Toyota Prius and Lexus HS250h and Lexus CT 200h hybrids. The rest of Toyota's 18 domestic assembly plants remain closed.

Still on hold is vehicle assembly at Subaru-maker Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. It said Thursday that it was extending downtime of full-sized vehicle production at its main plant in Gumma through at least April 5. That plant makes the Subaru Forester, Impreza and Legacy.

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While the real impact likely won't be seen for several months, what do you think the more immediate impacts to the Japanese auto industry will be and how do you think that will translate to future production?

drunken monkey
04-07-2011, 07:17 PM
I'm not entirely sure what kind of effect the event would have in the long term as Honda, like many other car manufacturers have factories operating where-ever in the world they are selling cars.
Of course, what would be most affected would be things that are made mainly in Japan.

From what I recall, most parts are supplied from Japanese factories and I do recall reading something about their supplies for parts to foreign countries being the thing that will be hardest hit. I wonder if it's possible for the manufacturing plants such as the one in Swindon UK to be called in to produce parts for global supply.

Let's just hope the latest Tsunami warning doesn't bring any more damage to the area.

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